By Jude Njoku
Against the backdrop of over 16 million housing units required to provide decent shelter for homeless Nigerians, the President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers, NIESV, Mr. Bode Adediji has called for the establishment of a virile, sustainable and non-elitist mortgage system in the country.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vanguard homes & Property, the NIESV President explained that any country that operatives a culture of cash and carry, would only be dreaming about housing for all.
His words: “From one regime to another, Nigerian governments have never been openly committed to solving Nigeria’s housing problems. I say so emphatically because for any country to solve its housing problems, there are fundamental steps that must be taken that are totally non-negotiable.
Firstly, a country that operates on the culture of cash and carry in all her activities will only be dreaming of housing for all but run into housing crisis from one regime to another. Until the nation sits up and rolls out a virile, sustainable, non-elitist mortgage system, the housing situation in Nigeria will remain comatose”.
Describing housing and mortgage as the engine room that drives the economy of most advanced nations, Mr Adediji posited that the reverse is the case in Nigeria. “ The engine that drives the economy of most advanced countries is the housing and mortgage.
But if you look at it from another dimension, the total loan exposure of all banks in this country to real estate is less than one percent. The total contribution of the housing, property and construction to the GDP is just about three percent, negligible.
So, when government officials see these shocking data, you will expect a revolutionary response to cure the ailment but from one regime to another, we have always been talking about housing; we have always been talking about mortgage, we have always been talking about land reforms, that is, access to land but nothing tangible ever takes place beyond the realm of talking,” he lamented.
Continuing, the CEO of Bode Adediji Partnership stated that “the inability of one regime to the other to see the the inter linkages of the housing and property sector vis.a vis other crucial sectors like health, security and even social stability, has being the nemesis of growth and development in this country”.
He declared: “A peaceful nation is a nation where the gap between the haves and have-nots is controlled. What we seen in the last couple of decades in Nigeria is a small percentage that continually maintains a stupendous amount of wealth while majority remain far below the United Nations
stipulated poverty zone. In a country where about 90 percent of the people live below two Dollars per day, issues of security can only be left in the hands of God”.
The nation’s number one estate surveyor enjoined the government to emulate the giant strides taken by Brazil and Argentina to get out of the poverty zone. “Go and read the story of Brazil and Argentina. Brazil now has more than 58 percent of people who have moved into the middle class cadre, up from the abysmally 10 percent about 10 years ago just because of the leadership of one person, President Luna.
Which means that today, the poor percentage in Brazil is less than 20 percent.”
Look at Argentina, Argentina was bankrupted about ten years ago when they walked out of IMF and told IMF to go to blazes, we are not going to pay debts. The banks closed down, they had a president that said, enough is enough.
They put all their resources together and within a space of 10 years, they have a profound collection of middle class people and reduced poverty to the barest minimum. That should be the vision of this country.,” he submitted.